PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 20: In this photo illustration the logo of Chinese media app for creating … [+] and sharing short videos TikTok, also known as Douyin is displayed on the screen of a smartphone on November 20, 2019 in Paris, France. The social media TikTok developed by Chinese company ByteDance continues its meteoric rise and exceeded the milestone of 1.5 billion downloads. Tik Tok now surpasses Facebook and Instagram. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)
If you read the recent Forbes article, TikTok’s 7 Highest Earning Stars then you know ‘serious money’ can mean seven-figures! The list details the TikTok stars who earned over a million dollars last year by posting short videos on the hugely popular social platform. At #1, Addison Rae Easterling earned a whopping $5 million last year.
With so many losing income due to coronavirus, people are looking for new revenue streams and earning potentials. Social media has become a revenue source for many by becoming a social influencer on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The fastest growing of these social apps is TikTok; Easterling and those on the list make it clear that you can absolutely make money from TikTok. In fact, there are TikTok money calculators that give you an estimate of how much money any public TikTok account makes. The question becomes, how do you make money, and at what cost?
Before you can call up Sony and offer to be their TikTok brand ambassador, there are a few steps you must take if you want to see any money.
Step 1: Create your brand. Anyone who ever took a marketing class knows the basics, and it’s the same for any business you start. Who are you, and who will love your product (target market)? For TikTok this means you should have an idea of the type of videos you’ll post, and be consistent. Will your videos be entertaining and funny? Or are you looking for a romantic, ethereal vibe? How do you want people (and companies looking for influencers) to see you?
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Step 2: Post content that people want to watch. Like all social media platforms, you’re only as good as your content. Being a social influencer, whether it’s on Instagram, Twitter or TikTok requires a lot of work. Your content must be fresh, interesting, unique and updated. This means multiple new videos, every day.
Step 3: Get followers. This is probably the most important step, and it comes from doing Step 1 and Step 2 really well. Remember Easterling? She has over 54 million followers on TikTok. Estimates range from 10,000 to as many as a million followers are needed before you can really be able to monetize your account. The best way to get followers is to understand what your target market wants to see, and upload quality content to them multiple times a day.
Once you have achieved large scale popularity on TikTok, you can start to earn real money. Below are 5 ways to earn that income:
- Influencer Marketing. You’ve probably heard this before, and it’s similar on all social platforms. The company hires influencers to use their videos to promote their products/services/brand, in hopes of generating sales. One of the biggest influencer campaigns on TikTok has been Mucinex, which worked with several influencers to promote its product in the time between Halloween and flu season. In the various videos, influencers wake up looking like goofy zombies. Then, they grab Mucinex. After that, the videos cut to the influencers looking fabulous and dressed for the club. The idea is that Mucinex can help you recover in time for a weekend party, even if you feel like death.
- Sponsored Content Posts: Loren Gray, who earned $2.6 million last year with over 45 million followers, landed a major Revlon deal, where she creates content for the company’s TikTok account and Revlon-sponsored posts for hers.
- Branded Merchandise: Once you become a wildly popular TikTok star, you can create your own line of makeup products, like Item Beauty, by Easterling.
- Use your stardom to launch your Music / Artist / Actress Career: Baby Ariel, with 34 million TikTok followers, was the first individual to surpass the 20-million-followers mark on Musical.ly (now TikTok), and her fame has only grown from there. Ariels’ fame has led to multiple gigs on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon TV shows.
- TikTok Consultant: If you are an expert on all things TikTok, many are in need of your guidance. With this still being a relatively new social platform, people will pay money to hire you as a consultant to help them create their strategy, build their brand and boost their followers.
While many are making money and enjoying fame through TikTok – not all is rosy when it comes to this massive social platform. Based in Beijing China, TikTok has been criticized for censorship, privacy, and child safety. The debate continues, and more can be found here.
Regardless, for anyone looking to make a living through TikTok, proceed like you would with any business venture – do your research and be smart.